Barnabus dumped another bundle of sticks onto the fire, wrapping his white fur coat tight around his shoulders, and sitting on a stump he had dragged into the clearing. The woods were beautiful, thick with wiry dark trees and covered in pure white snow. Unfortunately, it was too cold to fully appreciate that beauty. He was a travelling salesmen, an Australian touring the west with medicines and treatments from all over the world. He was imagining the scorching heat of his homeland to take his mind off of the icy chill rattling his bones, when he heard a snap of branches ahead.
On the other side of the clearing, another man emerged from the trees. He wore a huge fur coat himself, made from brown bearskin, with a brown bowler hat and matching gloves. Chunks of snow were stuck in his beard, and he fixed Barnabus with a fierce stare.
“Barnabus Jacobson!” he yelled. “I have come to kill you.”
Immediately, the man produced a revolver from his coat, and fired at his adversary.
The bullet struck a tree, roughly eight feet to the left of Barnabus. He spun his head, surprised, and then back to the shooter. “Now hold on just a –“
Frustrated, the man fired another shot, this time hitting a tree some way further back.
“God dammit!” screamed the assailant, kicking a mound of snow in anger.
“Are you trying to shoot me?” asked Barnabus, confused.
“Don’t you fuckin’ mock me you son of a bitch!” spat the man, firing a third shot which landed up in the branches of a tree a few feet to the target’s left. “Gahh!”
“Who are you?” queried the would-be victim, brushing snow off his shoulder from the shaken tree beside him.
“You don’t even remember me? Of course not. Roger Weir.” He waited for a reaction, and didn’t get one. “From Beatrice?”
“Beatrice? The girl with the…”
“Beatrice the town you dumb foreigner, it’s a town! You were there, ten days ago.”
“Excuse me sir,” Barnabus said softly, “but I move through a lot of places.”
“Oh I’m sure you do.” The man kept his gun up, and laughed. He moved a few steps forward. “Selling them pills and potions. Scamming good folks like me out of hard earned money. Well, not anymore!”Roger fired again, this time hitting the snow in front of the campfire. “This confounded weapon, something wrong with th…the mechanism.’ He shot again, this time hitting the campfire itself, and sending little flakes of burning bark flying.
Barnabus put his hands up, shielding himself. “I think you’re just a really bad shot, mate.”
“This is all your fault! None of this would have happened if not for those useless pills.”
“Which pills?” asked the salesman.
“The… the ffff… the, the cock pills!”
Barnabus bit his lip. “Ah.” He stifled laughter. “Well, sir, you know they aren’t guaranteed one hundred percent effective. Now I’d be happy to give you a refund…”
“Can you give me a refund on my marriage? On my damn wife?” shouted Roger. “No? Didn’t think so. She left me. I was betting everything on them pills. ‘Rejuvulate your love life’, that’s what you said, ain’t it? Well they didn’t work!” The man was shaking from rage and the cold. “One last chance, she gave me. I said ‘don’t you worry darlin’, this is gonna be the night of your life’. I was softer’n god damn butter.”
With this, Barnabus burst out laughing, prompting his foe to fire his last shot, which managed to land a little closer, hitting the salesman’s bag, and breaking a few bottles of pink fluid, which spilled out onto the white snow liberally.*
“Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!” Roger threw down the firearm, and stamped around like a petulant child, throwing up puffs of snow and clenching his fists.
Wrapping up his belongings, Barnabus was still laughing as he stamped out the fire and lifted his pack onto his back.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“You’re not done with me, Mr. Weir? You used your six shots.” Smirked Barnabus, brushing snow off his coat.
Roger fished around in his pocket. “I’ve got… I’ve got two more bullets here!” he announced. “Now where the hell…” he got down on his hands and knees in the snow, searching for the revolver which he had foolishly let drown in the powder.
“Look, mate, I’m out of here, but listen. I’m never coming back to your little town, just tell everyone you found me and killed me if you want. I doubt you’ll get your wife back, but your friends might buy you a drink.”
“This isn’t over!” the crawling man insisted, frantically pawing along the ground.
Barnabus Jacobson never replied, only chuckled to himself as he left the clearing, and made his way to the next town, and he never saw Roger Weir again.
*Incidentally, the pink fluid was a potent European laxative, which hours later would be discovered and lapped up by an unfortunate elk, subsequently creating a much bigger mess than Mr. Weir had managed to do.